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What to Expect From a High School International Baccalaureate Program?

August 25, 2021

The International Baccalaureate Organization was founded more than 50 years ago in Geneva, Switzerland, with the purpose of creating a standardized, rigorous educational program for students worldwide. Since its beginning, the International Baccalaureate’s mission has been to create a better world through education, and the program has earned a stellar reputation for excellence, high standards, and pedagogical leadership. 

At the high school level, the Diploma Program of the IB is a two-year program for high school juniors and seniors, and was the first program offered by the organization. 

The DP was followed by the Middle Years Program (MYP)  for students ages 11 to 16, and the Primary Years Program (PYP)  for students ages 3 to 12. Each program is designed to develop students’ intellectual, emotional, personal, and social skills. 

The IB’s required lineup of classes is taught exclusively at approved, authorized IB high schools, and provides colleges and universities around the globe with a respected curriculum common to all IB students. When successfully completed, the IB DP results in personal and academic development for the students and an internationally accepted qualification — the IB DP diploma —  for the graduate. 

Is the IB Program Offered Online?

More than 900 high schools in the United States offer the IB DP, including the fully accredited Dwight School based in New York City. Through Dwight’s online program, Dwight Global, students may also take the IB DP online.  

Dwight Global Online School offers something unique: academic excellence and the freedom of flexible scheduling, combined with the opportunity for students to experience new cultures, meet international friends, create independence and confidence, develop new language skills, boost social networks, and increase future professional opportunities. 

Founded in 2014, Dwight Global Online School is part of the Dwight School’s worldwide network of schools, a network that supports its online school with a 150-plus year foundation of support, pedagogy and experience. 

A pioneer in IB education, Dwight School New York was the first school in the Americas to offer the comprehensive IB curriculum from preschool to graduation.

What classes are required by the IB DP?

The IB DP requires students to take a variety of classes in six subject areas: 

  • Language and Literature
  • Language Acquisition 
  • Individuals and Societies 
  • Science 
  • Math
  • The Arts.

Classes are offered at two levels: Standard Level, which encompasses 150 hours of instruction, and Higher Level, which encompasses 240 hours of instruction. Higher-level classes delve more deeply into topics beyond the scope of a standard-level class. 

IB DP students are also required to complete the following:

  • The Theory of Knowledge (TOK) course requires that students reflect on what it means to learn, how human beings learn, and how we know what we know. It culminates in a verbal presentation and a 1,600-word essay.
  • The Extended Essay is a 4,000-word essay on a self-directed research project. Students have the freedom to choose a topic that interests them, provided it is related to one of the six core subject areas.
  • The Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) requirement asks students to perform a variety of projects involving creative thinking, physical activity, and/or volunteer service, to ensure students develop both inside and outside of school.

At the end of the school year, all IB students are required to sit for exams. At the end of the two-year program, seniors who complete the entire curriculum, have no failing scores, and meet other eligibility requirements are granted an IB DP diploma from their individual schools. 

The IB DP program is known for challenging students and preparing them extremely well for higher education--two aspects college admissions representatives look for as markers of student success. 

Because IB is an international program, colleges around the world recognize IB students and understand the program’s rigor and benefits; a helpful element for students who are interested in attending college outside the United States. 

IB also offers a global alumni network, which allows students to connect with other IB graduates around the world.

Within the United States alone, more than 1,600 colleges recognize high school IB coursework. A student’s qualifying grades on IB exams may be enough to bestow college credit, or simply allow a student to skip past introductory-level classes once in college. 

For more information about Dwight Global’s IB DP program, as well as other academic pathways offered, including Advanced Placement and individualized programs, contact Dwight Global here.